Tulalip youth shine at ‘Living Breath’ Symposium

Tulalip Tribal members Jacynta Myles-Gilford, 7th grader, and Kaiser Moses, 8th grader, bravely conducted a 40-minute presentation, with little assistance, in front of a jam-packed Intellectual House audience on Friday, May 5.

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News

Over the weekend of May 5, the University of Washington’s longhouse, dubbed Intellectual House, held its 5th annual ‘Living Breath’ Symposium. This year was highlighted by Native youth grades 7th-12th who were willing to give a presentation or conduct an interactive workshop that aligned with Indigenous knowledge and tribal sovereignly.

After sifting through many deserving applicants, the Intellectual House advisory committee accepted a one-of-a-kind presentation from Tulalip youth who offered to share their experiences and knowledge gained as participants in Tulalip’s Mountain Camp program. Tribal members Jacynta Myles-Gilford, 7th grader, and Kaiser Moses, 8th grader, bravely conducted a 40-minute presentation, with little assistance, in front of a jam-packed Intellectual House audience on Friday, May 5.

Jacynta and Kaiser’s presentation was titled ‘Swedaxali: Huckleberry Fields Forever’. The young, prideful tribal members worked as a team and took turns on the mic describing their many experiences from their two summers participating in Mountain Camp. They shared critical details like how the camp is located in our ancestral mountain areas, which are now part of the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. Tulalip Tribes has reserved treaty rights to continue to hunt, fish and gather on these ancestral lands in the mountains, like Swedaxali (Lushootseed for “place of mountain huckleberries”). With a base camp at about 5,000 feet elevation, the area is very remote and beautifully untouched by the deconstruction that comes with urban areas.

They spoke of the many different kinds of plants that our ancestors used for medicinal purposes and as nourishment for their ever mobile bodies. Jacynta reminisced about walking in her ancestors’ footsteps while learning to make a traditional berry picking basket out of cedar bark from our grandmother cedar tree.

“My first summer at Mountain Camp was the first time I ever ate huckleberries. That was two years ago during a drought in that area, so they weren’t as ripe. The shrubs were dry and it was sad to see this usually lush green area look like that,” described Kaiser. “We still did all as planned and was still fun and enjoyable to pick the berries, eat them, make baskets and so on. At last year’s Mountain Camp adventure, there were so many berries, all of them were ripe and the taste was spectacular!”

As part of Mountain Camp last year, campers launched the very first work that is part of our Tribes’ 10-year plan to make sure huckleberries continue to grow in this area.  The work they began in the huckleberry fields involved work to enhance the huckleberries’ growth by cutting down competing species that were shading out the berries and could prevent the mountain huckleberries from flourishing.  This was a team effort by all the kids, camp staff and a few more volunteers. A highlight of their presentation, pictures and video were shown detailing the huckleberry stewardship work.

Concluding their presentation there was a question and answer segment provided for the many inquisitive minds in attendance. The huckleberry stewardship being diligently done by the Tulalip youth was further asked about. Jacynta provided an awesome response to one such question, “Working with the huckleberries and being taught how to take care of them like our ancestors once did is such an amazing experience. I feel we continue to gather berries in the area and take care of the plants in a good way like our elders teach. It’s really important to share our experience with others because then that means we are helping to spread the message behind Mountain Camp and what us youth are trying to do for the better of the Tulalip Tribes community.”

Dr. Charlotte Coté (Nuu-chah-nulth First Nation), chair of the UW’s Intellectual House Advisory Committee and co-founder of the ‘Living Breath’ Symposium, was among the audience who listened intently to Jacynta and Kaiser’s presentation.

“It was really inspiring to see young people from these Native nations understanding their culture, their traditions, and understanding it’s more than just about health. It’s about culture, community, family, and spirituality,” remarked Dr. Coté about the Tulalip youths’ presentation. “It’s all tied into connecting or reconnecting to your traditional foods and we really saw that in their presentation. You could tell they were speaking from their heart. It’s so important because this event focuses on youth so that we can inspire each other, but to also emphasize listening to the next generation. They are our future leaders, and here they are at such a young age understanding the importance of living their culture, while sharing their beautiful experiences with us.”

UW Seminar: Preserving the Past Together

Leonard Forsman, Chairman of the Suquamish Tribe and presidential appointed Vice-Chairman of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, was the keynote speaker.

 

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

The University of Washington has created a new seminar and workshop series sponsored by the College of Arts & Sciences, Office of Research, and the Burke Museum. These two-hour luncheon events bring together tribal representatives, tribal historic preservation offices, representatives from local, state and federal agencies, and cultural resources managers to evaluate the contemporary needs and challenges of preserving heritage in the Salish Sea. The objective is to foster the development of collaborative approaches to heritage management and historic preservation that integrate the needs of these diverse stakeholders.

On Thursday, January 12, the opening seminar of the four-part series, titled Collaborating on Heritage in the Puget Sound, was held at UW’s ωəɬəbʔαltxʷ Intellectual House. Taking place was a facilitated conversation with representatives from local tribes, the Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation, UW Law, and the Washington State Department of Transportation.

“We want to provide a forum for archaeologists, heritage professionals, and tribal cultural resource managers to consider the current challenges and future possibilities of managing heritage in our own backyard,” explained Sara Gonzalez, UW Assistant Professor and seminar moderator. “Our objective is strengthen and build upon existing methods of knowledge sharing from the diverse stewards and stakeholders who are sitting here today. We have the unique opportunity to think more deeply and creatively about how we can best use our resources to contribute to the capacity of tribes, as well as local agencies and cultural resource firms to manage heritage within the Salish Sea.”

Leonard Forsman, Chairman of the Suquamish Tribe and presidential appointed Vice-Chairman of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, was the key-note speaker and gave a heartfelt opening address that connected with many in the room. The following is an excerpt of his speech that explains the important of cultural resources and sacred site protection to Native peoples and how these topics apply to Standing Rock.

“Cultural resources has always been deep in my heart and remains a key pillar of my thinking as we move forward. There are a number of issues that face the tribes, from economic development to habitat protection to educating our children to justice and housing for our people. Many, many aspects of our tribal governments take into account the physical cultural resources unique to our respective nations and communities, as well as our spiritual culture.

One topic that there’s been a lot of talk about recently is sacred site protection, especially in regards to Standing Rock. We know natural resources is vital as a part of the context for identifying a sacred site. We are hearing a lot that cultural practitioners are being asked to step in and explain those elements that essentially tell us why a place is important spiritually. The Standing Rock – DAPL protest is an example of this, where there are a lot of different factors and influences to the protest. There’s a very strong argument based on sacred site protection. This highlights the importance landscape has to us as Native people, that we have these ancestral connections to the land.

Chief Seattle spoke of our interconnectedness with the land and nature in his most memorable speech. He explained how we live with our ancestors on a daily basis and how they are with us all the time. What happens to the land is permanent, and knowing this we are very concerned about what may impact the land because that in turn impacts our lives. That is why we are so adamant about protecting our cultural resources and sites we can preserve because we want to remain respectful of that constant presence in our lives.”

Native American scholar John Mohawk (Seneca) defined culture as a learned means of survival in an environment. As tribes, our means of survival used to be finding what the need was within our community and then each member doing their part to fulfill that need.

In thinking about opportunities and challenges of caring for heritage and protecting our culture in the Pacific Northwest, there is a glaring need to better understand one another. We have to work together to communicate and understand each other’s viewpoints, instead of making assumptions about one another. There are assumptions made about the tribes, about the government, about federal agencies, and seemingly everything in between. Some of these assumptions may be true, but a lot of them aren’t. We have to make sure that we talk to each other and feel safe in doing that, even if it means being blunt in order to express how we feel.

 

 

In order to preserve the past together and continue protecting our cultural resources there must be an open dialogue that allows for questions and understanding. This UW workshop series is a promoter of such dialogue and looks to build upon all the knowledge shared and communicated by all those who attend. The next workshop in the series, Meaningful Collaboration and Indigenous Archaeologies, takes place on February 16 from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the Suzzallo Allen Library (located on the UW campus). For more information please visit http://blogs.uw.edu/preserve.

 

Contact Micheal Rios: mrios@tulaliptribes-nsn.gov

Indigenous foods summit showcases traditional foods and discussion around food sovereignty

By Chetanya Robinson, The Daily

If you had wandered into the UW wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ – Intellectual House on Saturday, you would have gotten a taste, quite literally, of ancient tradition. Seal oil, berries, Douglas fir tea, and numerous other plant and animal foods that have nourished traditional Native cultures for millennia were on offer to taste.

The occasion was the third annual summit around indigenous foods held by the UW American Indian Studies department. Panelists invited from across Native North America shared stories, teachings, and insights from their cultures and professional lives.

Michelle Daigle, a coordinator of the summit and Ph.D. candidate in geography at the UW, touched on the sacred place that food holds in indigenous cultures, and how traditional food practices have been threatened historically by logging, mining, the fur trade, and most recently, resource extraction.

Lawrence Curley, a UW master’s student who studies water quality, talked about how in traditional cultures, there is no concept of natural resources; it’s more accurate to talk about natural relationships.

“In our languages, we don’t have a word for resource, or rather, that word is given to relations,” Curley said. If people were to treat natural resources as if they were relatives, it would be a relationship based on love.

Valerie Segrest, Muckleshoot tribal member who works with the Muckleshoot Food Sovereignty Project, drew a connection between food sovereignty and the health problems facing modern society and Native Americans in particular. She said that though food sovereignty is something of a trendy concept, and one that can mean any number of things, the basic ideas are ancient.

“When I look back at our treaties and how they were negotiated here and how my ancestors thought was top priority, it was about access to food, having access to all of the elk, the deer, the salmon, the shellfish, the berries, the roots, medicines and the cedar tree,” Segrest said. “Because we know that when these things cease to exist, then so do we as a people. When we eat our foods, we maintain our identity.”

Hokulani Aikau, professor at the University of Hawai‘i, touched on the inseparable relationship between indigenous self-determination and food in Hawaii, which, in turn, is connected to water quality necessary to support traditional plants.

Aikau brought up taro (kalo in Hawaiian), which in Hawaiian culture is considered the child of the creator of the stars. With rising temperatures, less rainfall and poorer water quality, taro can’t be grown the same way it was.

“We have to restore the water in order to restore our food in order to restore our people,” Aikau said.

Jonathan Betz-Zall, an attendee, said he has heard from many Native Americans about the issues presented at the panel through his work with the American Friends Services Committee, a Quaker organization. He came to the summit to hear more about the issues and sample great food.

“The natives in our area especially have been pioneers, really, in showing people a way to live in harmony with the land that enables you to keep on going through time,” he said.

In the back of the room, attendees could not only learn about indigenous foods, but taste them too, starting with cold Douglas fir tea to drink. One table featured samples of sea life — Northwest fish and shellfish, sea cucumber and seal oil — while on another sat bowls of traditional plants like bitterroot, chokeberry, huckleberry, nettles and sea beans.

Spokane tribal member and traditional foods educator Elizabeth Campbell managed an informational table that displayed examples of Native Northwest foods, many of which she had helped gather. Among them were camas bulbs her grandmother had roasted more than 50 years ago.

Campbell, who teaches at Northwest Indian College, grew up harvesting traditional Native plants, and has extensive knowledge about the nutritional, culinary, and traditional practices surrounding them. For the summit, Campbell had prepared a foam made of bitter soapberries, as well as a chocolate pudding thickened with two local seaweeds.

“One of the things that we talk about a lot is how you don’t need a lot of our traditional foods to build our strength and our spirit,” Campbell said. “They’re pretty nutrient-dense, and so even just getting a small amount of these foods in us can really feed not only our bodies but our spirits as well.”

A lunch of elk and salmon — more indigenous foods — was provided to attendees, many of whom took in the afternoon sun outside while sitting on the wooden benches of the Intellectual House.

One month after opening, UW Intellectual House forges community space

By Chetanya Robinson, The Daily of University of Washington

Ross Braine, tribal liaison and director of the Intellectual House, has been involved in trying to make the Intellectual House a reality since he was a student at the UW in 2007. Photo/ Chetanya Robinson

Ross Braine, tribal liaison and director of the Intellectual House, has been involved in trying to make the Intellectual House a reality since he was a student at the UW in 2007. Photo/ Chetanya Robinson

Almost a month to the day that the Intellectual House celebrated its grand opening, Ross Braine celebrated a quieter, but no less powerful victory.

On a day that coincided with the First Nations at UW’s annual powwow near Husky Stadium, Braine saw the Intellectual House being used as a gathering place. Students from Lummi Island and Crow powwow dancers met in the large meeting hall, while at the same time students cooked for Native elders in the Intellectual House’s kitchen.

The Intellectual House -— a modern, 8,400 square foot longhouse-style building — had become the gathering place the UW Native community had dreaming about for almost 40 years.

“That was an awesome day,” Braine said. “That’s what this building has already become, and what was needed for all these years.” But, he added, it was just one day out of many.

Braine has been involved in the Intellectual House project since he was an undergraduate in 2007. With two jobs now — director of the Intellectual House and UW tribal liaison — and working toward his masters in information management at the UW all simultaneously, Braine is busy. In the big picture, his job as director is to manage and grow the Intellectual House.

Even though it’s been open for a month, the Intellectual House still has a few finishing touches to go before it’s fully complete, Braine said.

“It seems like we could have used a little more time, because we’re still going through punch lists,” he said.

His punch list is full of needs like paint sanding, making sure the right locks are on the right doors, and ordering microphones. Despite the little challenges, the Intellectual House has been in demand for bookings. It gives priority to events with an indigenous focus, said administrative coordinator Casey Wynecoop.

The space has already been used for a variety of events. On April 16, UW Interim President Ana Mari Cauce spoke about racism and equality before an audience who packed the large hall. The space has been used by a campus alliance for minority students in STEM fields who showcased their research projects. Upcoming bookings include an event focused on indigenous food and ecological knowledge, and a camp for at-risk high school students from migrant families.

The Intellectual House will also host many graduations, said Wynecoop, including the first annual Raven’s Feast graduation appreciation for native students, held for the past 20 years at the Daybreak Star Cultural Center in Discovery Park. Now that the Intellectual House is open, Wynecoop said, it can be a focus for cultural events on campus.

The Intellectual House has provided a space that has brought the community closer together, said Andrea Fowler, of the First Nations at UW student group.

“We know it’s a privilege to have that space here at such a large university, and it’s really supported the students,” Fowler said. “So far I’ve noticed a change this spring that we’re a lot more community-oriented and together and really getting more grounded in the culture …. I think that’s going to be a great support for them, that’s something that they need to be grounded in to succeed.”

Braine said he would have benefited from a place like the Intellectual House when he was a student.

“I think if I had had a house like this when I was an undergraduate it would have been easier to find where I was,” he said.

Braine was involved in trying to make the Intellectual House a reality as an undergraduate at the UW. Mentors like Julian Argel, who died in 2012, and Marvin Oliver, had tried to do the same in the 1970s. Braine keeps a photo of Argel in his office and credits him with keeping the idea of the Intellectual House alive.

In Braine’s office is also a framed print by Marvin Oliver, a retired professor of American Indian Studies at the UW and Adjunct Curator of Contemporary Native American Art at the Burke Museum, showing longhouses by the water near what is now Husky Stadium, a common sight before European arrival in Seattle.

From the beginning, Braine said, the planners of the Intellectual House project intended for there to be a second longhouse building next to the current one, focused on teaching and learning, which might hold classrooms or conference rooms. Half of the estimated $8 million budget for that second building will need to be raised before planning can start. However, plumbing and electricity are already installed.

Even with phase two of the project in the distant future, the completed building constructed of sturdy cedar has been inspiring people.

On April 24, the Intellectual House was host to Deconstructing Earth Day, a roundtable discussion organized by Sean Schmidt of the UW Sustainability Office. About a dozen people sat in a circle in the large, cedar-scented room to talk about sustainability and how it relates to diversity and social justice.

Pennsylvania House of Representatives member Brian Sims, the first openly gay elected state legislator in Pennsylvania and the first openly gay college football captain in the NCAA, was one of the guests who told his story. He said he struggles sometimes to find authenticity in city life, and wondered how urban Native Americans find authentic spaces in the metropolis.

In answer, Abigail Echo-Hawk, a member of Seattle Women’s Commission and a tribal liaison for UW Partnerships for Native Health, said she thought such authentic places can be created, that the Intellectual House is one of them.

“I sit in a space that’s sacred,” she said. “We’re just at the beginnings of something that can grow bigger.”

Girls Group boosts teens self-esteem

Tatiana Bumgarner is joined by younger sister Priscilla as they show off their summer scrapbook full of photos they have taken during the groups field trips. Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

Tatiana Bumgarner is joined by younger sister Priscilla as they show off their summer scrapbook full of photos they have taken during the groups field trips.
Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

By Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

TULALIP – Native teen girls, age 14-17, have been busy this summer at the Tulalip Family Haven’s Girl Group building pride in their accomplishments as well as building self-esteem.

The group provides teen girls the support they need to become the most successful person they can be. Using the “Canoe Journey, Life’s Journey” curriculum guide by June LaMarr and G. Alan Marlatt, the young women are taught to make choices that promote positive actions and learn to avoid the hazards of alcohol, tobacco, and drug use.

Fifteen-year-old Jaylin Rivera plans to be a teacher and one day serve on the Tulalip Council. She says the girls group has been instrumental in helping her prepare for college and enjoys the mentoring and support from staff. Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

Fifteen-year-old Jaylin Rivera plans to be a teacher and one day serve on the Tulalip Council. She says the girls group has been instrumental in helping her prepare for college and enjoys the mentoring and support from staff.
Photo/ Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

To promote positive experiences, the group has participated in a whirlwind of summer activities that have included a rope course to teach overcoming one’s fears and learning to trust, a tour of the University of Washington campus to learn college preparation, a chance to watch basketball star Shoni Shimmel at a Storm’s Game played in Seattle –a reward for good group attendance and a visit to listen the Seattle Pixar Symphony, among others.

“Our mission is to help girls experience and learn life skills to help them through their teen years. We want to build positive memories and confidence so they can be successful in their goals,” said Sasha Smith, Girls Group lead youth advocate.

Girls Group is held Tuesday through Thursday, 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Tulalip Family Haven building across from the Tulalip Boys & Girls Club. Transportation is available. For more information about the Girls Group, please contact them at 360-716-4404.

 

Brandi N. Montreuil: 360-913-5402; bmontreuil@tulalipnews.com

 

Controversial Olympic Peninsula Timber Sale Pits Environment Against Education

The marbled murrelet, a federally protected seabird that nests in the coastal forests of Washington, Oregon and Northern California. | credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The marbled murrelet, a federally protected seabird that nests in the coastal forests of Washington, Oregon and Northern California. | credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

By Ashley Ahearn, KUOW

SEATTLE — The Washington Board of Natural Resources voted unanimously Tuesday to approve the sale of 200 acres of the Olympic Peninsula that are home to the threatened marbled murrelet. The money from the timber sale will go to the University of Washington.

200 acres might not seem like that big of a deal, but not if you ask Peter Goldman, director of the Washington Forest Law Center.

“These 200 acres are extremely important,” he said. “These lands around these timber sales are heavily used and officially mapped as occupied by the marbled murrelet.”

Goldman was referring to a rare seabird whose numbers have plummetted to the point that it’s listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. It nests in old-growth coastal forests of Washington, Oregon, British Columbia and California.

Goldman is working with several environmental groups, including the Sierra Club, Seattle Audubon Society, and Olympic Forest Coalition, who oppose the timber sale because it will mean clearcutting in murrelet habitat. The tracts are known as the “Goodmint” and “Rainbow Rock” timber sales, and are located on the western part of the Olympic Peninsula.

There are roughly 2,000 murrelets left in Washington and the population has been declining by up to 8 percent each year over the past decade. The birds can fly upwards of 50 miles to forage the ocean for food. For timber cutters and marbled murrelet alike, coastal forests on the Olympic Peninsula are highly desirable, and harder to come by.

Last year the University of Washington received $1.35 million from timber sales on state lands, according to the state Department of Natural Resources.

“So the question,” Goldman says, “is whether the University of Washington is really saying they want to log the last remaining habitat for the marbled murrelet for approximately $600,000.”

In an emailed statement, a spokesman for the University of Washington said: “This is the Department of Natural Resource’s decision. Some people may disagree but it is their call.”

Tom DeLuca, the director of the University of Washington’s school of Environmental and Forest Sciences, is the vice chairman of the state Board of Natural Resources, which makes decisions about timber sales. DeLuca did not vote on this particular sale and did not respond to requests for an interview.

Peter Goldmark (not Goldman) is the chairman of that board, and the commissioner of public lands for the state of Washington.

“The opponents make an emotional issue that these are the last acres available when in fact they’re not,” Commissioner Goldmark said.

These 200 acres may not be the last remaining marbled murrelet habitat but they’re part of it.

In a report released in 2008, the Department of Natural Resources identified key habitat that should be protected for marbled murrelet throughout the state. The 200 acres that are now up for sale were included in that report.

When asked about the report, Goldmark downplayed the findings.

“This is a science team report only,” he said. “It’s not proposed as a plan because, first and foremost, our major responsibility is a fiduciary interest to supply revenue for the trust beneficiaries.”

Goldmark added that the DNR has refrained from logging on thousands of acres elsewhere in the area, at a significant cost to those “trust beneficiaries” — like the University of Washington, Washington State University and public schools throughout the state, which received almost $175 millionfrom timber sales last year.

The 200 acres will be put up for sale in April. Environmental groups have indicated they will to file a lawsuit in the next 30 days.

Secretary Jewell discusses climate change impacts on Northwest

Tulalip News

Secertary_Jewell

U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell is joined by University of Washington dean of Environmental Sciences Lisa Graumlich, at a roundtable discussion focused on climate change impacts to the Pacific Northwest.
Photo/ Andrew Gobin, Tulalip News

SEATTLE – This morning U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell was joined by scientists from the University of Washington and the Department of the Interior representatives from three national parks in the region, including tribal representatives and other interested stakeholders in a roundtable discussion as part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan. The roundtable discussion was held at the university’s College of the Environment, and focused on climate change impacts to the Pacific Northwest.

Secertary_Jewell1

Photo/ Andrew Gobin, Tulalip News

 

Tulalip Husky and Cougar fans show their colors

Photos by Monica Brown

TULALIP Wash. – Fridays are usually reserved for Seahawks Blue Friday but this Friday, Tulalip Admin employees decided to sport their Husky or Cougar attire instead.

Click photos to view larger image.

New Ocean Forecast Could Help Predict Fish Habitat Six Months in Advance

People are now used to long-term weather forecasts that predict what the coming winter may bring. But University of Washington researchers and federal scientists have developed the first long-term forecast of conditions that matter for Pacific Northwest fisheries.

By Hannah Hickey | University of Washington News and Information

September 4, 2013

“Being able to predict future phytoplankton blooms, ocean temperatures and low-oxygen events could help fisheries managers,” said Samantha Siedlecki, a research scientist at the UW-based Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean.

“This is an experiment to produce the first seasonal prediction system for the ocean ecosystem. We are excited about the initial results, but there is more to learn and explore about this tool – not only in terms of the science, but also in terms of its application,” she said.

A school of sardines. The tool will soon produce a months-long outlook for Pacific Northwest sardine habitat.Image-Wikimedia / Alessandro Duci - See more at: http://alaska-native-news.com/alaska-native-news-at-sea/9212-new-ocean-forecast-could-help-predict-fish-habitat-six-months-in-advance.html#sthash.JjthM2LO.dpuf

A school of sardines. The tool will soon produce a months-long outlook for Pacific Northwest sardine habitat.Image-Wikimedia / Alessandro Duci

In January, when the prototype was launched, it predicted unusually low oxygen this summer off the Olympic coast. People scoffed. But when an unusual low-oxygen patch developed off the Washington coast in July, some skeptics began to take the tool more seriously. The new tool predicts that low-oxygen trend will continue, and worsen, in coming months.

“We’re taking the global climate model simulations and applying them to our coastal waters,” saidNick Bond, a UW research meteorologist. “What’s cutting edge is how the tool connects the ocean chemistry and biology.”

Bond’s research typically involves predicting ocean conditions decades in advance. But as Washington’s state climatologist he distributes quarterly forecasts of the weather. With this project he decided to combine the two, taking a seasonal approach to marine forecasts.

The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration funded the project to create the tool and publish the two initial forecasts.

“Simply knowing if things are likely to get better, or worse, or stay the same, would be really useful,” said collaborator Phil Levin, a biologist at NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center.

Early warning of negative trends, for example, could help to set quotas.

“Once you overharvest, a lot of regulations kick in,” Levin said. “By avoiding overfishing you don’t get penalized, you keep the stock healthier and you’re able to maintain fishing at a sustainable level.”

/tmp/tpc2e91792_36e0_416e_b69a_7de0af3744c9.psThe tool is named the JISAO Seasonal Coastal Ocean Prediction of the Ecosystem, which the scientist dubbed J-SCOPE. It’s still in its testing stage. It remains to be seen whether the low-oxygen prediction was just beginner’s luck or is proof the tool can predict where strong phytoplankton blooms will end up causing low-oxygen conditions, Siedlecki said.

The tool uses global climate models that can predict elements of the weather up to nine months in advance. It feeds those results into a regional coastal ocean model developed by the UW Coastal Modeling Group that simulates the intricate subsea canyons, shelf breaks and river plumes of the Pacific Northwest coastline. Siedlecki added a new UW oxygen model that calculates where currents and chemistry promote the growth of marine plants, or phytoplankton, and where those plants will decompose and, in turn, affect oxygen levels and other properties of the ocean water.

The end product is a nine-month forecast for Washington and Oregon sea surface temperatures, oxygen at various depths, acidity, and chlorophyll, a measure of the marine plants that feed most fish. Coming this fall are sardine habitat maps. Eventually researchers would like to publish forecasts specific to other fish, such as tuna and salmon.

The researchers fine-tuned their model by comparing results for past seasons with actual measurements collected by theNorthwest Association of Networked Ocean Observing Systems, or NANOOS. The UW-based association is hosting the forecasts as a forward-looking complement to its growing archive of Pacific Northwest ocean observations.

Siedlecki’s analyses suggest the new tool is able to predict elements of the ocean ecosystem up to six months in advance.

Researchers will present the project this year to the Pacific Fishery Management Council, the regulatory body for West Coast fisheries, and will work with NANOOS to reach tribal, state, and local fisheries managers.

If the forecasts prove reliable, they could eventually be part of a new management approach that requires knowing and predicting how different parts of the ocean ecosystem interact.

“The climate predictions have gotten to the point where they have six-month predictability globally, and the physics of the regional model and observational network are at the point where we’re able to do this project,” Siedlecki said.

Source: University of Washington

WSU study finds no more genetically modified wheat

Credit: Getty ImagesWheat Field

Credit: Getty Images
Wheat Field

August 7, 2013
By NICHOLAS K. GERANIOS — Associated Press

 

PULLMAN, WASH. — A study by Washington State University has found no additional sign of the genetically modified wheat discovered at one Oregon farm this spring.

The tests involved dozens of wheat varieties developed at Washington State, the University of Idaho and Oregon State University, plus varieties from Westbred/Monsanto and Limagrain Cereal Seeds, WSU said this week.

The time-consuming study included checking more than 20,000 individual plots, Washington State University said.

“WSU undertook its own investigation as part of its commitment to serving Northwest farmers,” said James Moyer, director of WSU’s Agricultural Research Center.

The study’s collaboration with the other universities and the commercial seed companies was unprecedented, and reflected the common goal of trying to determine if the genetically modified wheat discovered in Oregon was an isolated case or if the industry had a larger problem, Moyer said.

WSU’s data clearly suggests this was an isolated case, Moyer said.

The tests involved growing seed, spraying infant plants with the herbicide glyphosate and conducting molecular testing. None of the plants showed the glyphosate resistance found in the fields of an as-yet-unnamed Oregon farmer, WSU said.

Last month, the U.S. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service also said grain tests and interviews with several hundred farmers found no other instances of herbicide-resistant crops beyond that one Oregon farm.

The modified wheat was discovered in May when field workers at an eastern Oregon farm were clearing acres for the bare offseason and came across a patch of wheat that didn’t belong. The workers sprayed it, but the wheat wouldn’t die, so the farmer sent a sample to Oregon State University to test.

A few weeks later, Oregon State wheat scientists discovered that the wheat was genetically modified. They contacted the USDA, which ran more tests and confirmed the discovery.

Agriculture Department officials have said the modified wheat discovered in the Oregon field is the same strain as a genetically modified wheat that was designed to be herbicide-resistant and was legally tested by seed giant Monsanto a decade ago but never approved.

Most of the corn and soybeans grown in the United States are already modified, or genetically altered to include certain traits, often resistance to herbicides or pesticides. But the country’s wheat crop is not, as many wheat farmers have shown reluctance to use genetically engineered seeds since their product is usually consumed directly. Much of the corn and soybean crop is used as feed.

The USDA has said the wheat would be safe to eat if consumed. But American consumers, like many consumers in Europe and Asia, have shown an increasing interest in avoiding genetically modified foods.

The vast majority of Washington’s wheat is exported.